Membranous ultrastructure of human arachnoid cells

Mitsuhiro Hasegawa, Tetsumori Yamashima, Shinya Kida, Junkoh Yamashita

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26 Citations (Scopus)


The ultrastructure of arachnoid cell membranes was investigated by conventional transmission EM and by freeze-fracture techniques in human arachnoid granulations. Arachnoid cells showed widespread membrane specialization in the granulations including the formation of desmosomes, gap junctions, tight junctions, intermediate junctions, hemidesmosome-like structures, and micropinocytotic vesicles. However, the extent of the specialization varied from portion to portion; this was clearly shown on freeze-fracture replicas. Numerous extracellular cisterns were separated by cytoplasmic bodies or slender processes, joined by these junctional complexes. Uncoated and coated vesicles were abundant along the surface of extracellular cisterns representing the pathway of CSF. Complexes of branching tight junctions were comprised of 1-50 particle strands, which formed elaborate meshworks accompanied by numerous gap junctions and desmosomes. Micropinocytotic vesicles were often concentrated in the arachnoid cell cluster up to 40 per μm2, which is equivalent to the concentration in brain capillary endothelial cells. The results of this study clearly suggest that arachnoid cells in arachnoid granulations are not only tightly adherent to form a firm structure for the passage of CSE but that the arachnoid cells lining the CSF pathway show intense cell-cell communication and pinocytotic activity. This high transcellular activity probably reflects active transports or secretion of certain molecules by arachnoid cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1217-1227
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 11-1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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